How to Settle a Car Accident Claim Without a Lawyer
Car accidents are a terrifying reality of our modern living situation. Indeed, there are many other threats that feel existential and nearby, but actually experiencing many of these tragic events is rare, or subjective to an individual. However, the reality of driving means a car accident is only ever one bad decision away on any given day.
Additionally, car accidents are not only a problem when they occur. In fact, the initial incident often becomes the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. After the medical treatment, there is the battle of insurance companies trying to shift the fault away from themselves. Plus, you may have to deal with continuing treatment or physiotherapy, as well as a loss of income or struggling to pay bills.
All of these complications make most people feel like they are not receiving the best deal, and they often seek to right the perceived wrong. Most commonly, they do this through the aid of a car injury attorney who specializes in these types of legal claims. However, there are situations where you may not be able to receive the support of a legal representative.
In these situations, the best option may be to settle your car accident claim without a lawyer. However, before you learn more about the possibilities of this choice, you should consider the substantial difficulty involved. Indeed, if you have a very straightforward case with a sufficient amount of evidence, it might not be too difficult. Although it is worth noting how quickly these cases can get out of hand.
The Proper Process for Settling Car Accident Claims
If you are not going to hire a car injury attorney, then you will need to take some necessary steps immediately following your incident. Firstly, collect as much documentation and evidence as possible. This information should include pictures of the area where the incident took place, as well as a record of events. Ideally, you should also collect witness statements and a statement from the other party.
Furthermore, your comprehensive report should include a copy of the police report and any relevant documentation you receive from the insurance companies. As a side note, try to avoid giving a recorded statement for the other person’s insurance, which will prevent unnecessary complications, and frustrating counter offers when it comes time for you to send the demand letter.
After you gather all of this preliminary information, the next step will be calculating the total cost of your claim. Here, there are two broad types of expenses. Firstly, expenses that have an exact cost, and secondly, expenses that do not have an exact price. Typically, the first category is more straightforward to add up, and where you will receive the bulk of your claim.
In this category you should include any medical expenses, insurance deductibles, and payments relating to the damage to your vehicle. Additionally, you should include your lost earnings in this section. Your lost profits should be a total of the time you were not at work multiplied by your hourly rate. After you have a grand total for these expenses, you can focus on the expenses that do not have an exact cost.
Typically, the second category is harder to total. In some cases, people use a multiple of the damages with an exact cost, but it is tricky to make a fair assessment. As well, you will find a vast amount of extenuating circumstances can change the value. These circumstances may include any court appearances, the opinion of both insurance companies, and the severity or complexity of your injuries.
Finally, once you have a complete listing of your expenses and a comprehensive case file, the next step is to draft your demand letter. This letter should go to the other party, and you can allow them to make sure their insurance company is involved. Oftentimes, in these cases, you will then receive a counter offer.
Accepting this counter offer is up to you. Whether or not they accept the demands you make will likely play a role, but ultimately, this is the true advantage of working without a car accident lawyer. Although you can keep a lawyer in your back pocket if the other party does not agree to your terms.